Our Wild Ageratum

A close up look of wild ageratum looks like the annual that is sold in the spring

A close-up look of wild ageratum blooms looks like the annual that is sold in the spring.

Wild ageratum is a rambling semi-upright plant that enjoys light high shade in our area

Wild ageratum is a rambling semi-upright plant that enjoys light high shade in our area.

Here is an easy to grow great fall bloomer. It is wild ageratum (most consider it a native, but it really is an escapee), and boy does it produce a profusion of purplish-blue blooms in the fall. Many folks don’t like this plant because it easily spreads from seed in your garden, but if you clip off the finished flower blooms just as the color fades, that is not a problem. One of the things I like in my flower border is a touch of blue, purple, and silver. You cannot beat this for the purple/blue flowers. It is a true pass along plant, and the ones I have seen for sale as potted plants seem to easily get some type of root rot. Maybe that is because they are not especially fond of consistently damp or rich soil. In fact, I moved some plants that came up this spring in my garden, and 90 percent of what I moved got some type of root rot and died. The volunteer plants from last year’s seeds, where they came up, did fine. But I did not overly water them and did not fertilizer them. Ok, so you want some for your garden? The way I got mine started is to harvest the dried flower heads, put in a paper bag, and let completely dry. Then scatter the seeds (and the trash from the flowers) in various spots in my garden in the fall. I got nice seedlings the following spring, when I did mine. If you don’t have a friend that has some of these flowers in bloom, watch the roadsides and woodland edges and harvest the spent flowers from these plants. Just be sure and not take all the heads, so they can keeping rejuvenating the mass.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

One thought on “Our Wild Ageratum

  1. The first time I saw escaped ageratum I almost didn’t recognize it because it was so tall. My experience was limited to the bedding plants produced by the growers who had treated them with a growth retardant so they would be more attractive. The treatment would last all season, keeping the plants compact. Almost indestructible once it finds a place to grow.

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